Ταυτότητα και Διαφορά: Με Αφορμή τον Ελληνισμό του Σεφέρη και του Καβάφη (Identity and Difference: Hellenism in the Works of G. Seferis and C.P. Cavafy)

Anthony Dracopoulos

Abstract


While issues of Hellenism and identity are central to the works of G. Seferis and C.P. Cavafy, their approaches are radically different. For Seferis, key determinants of identity are the origin of the author and language. This is why the cultural geography of his poetry is centred on Greece, with his inspiration drawn from classical Greece and his main frame of reference the “demotic” tradition. In contrast, Cavafy’s imaginary landscape includes a variety of cultural centres which lie outside Greece. He draws selectively from the Hellenistic period and as a result his work is dominated by intercultural combinations and influences and therefore constitutes a space upon which identity is constantly at stake. Using Seferis’ and Cavafy’s work as a point of reference, this paper examines the function of “sameness” and “difference”; two interrelated concepts which are integral to any discourse on identity. It demonstrates that although identity tries to demarcate a region of safety and security by placing the individual ‘I’ amongst similar others, both concepts are problematic and unreliable, as they often infiltrate one another. To overcome these problems, the paper explores the idea that identity is the product of the interaction between specific individuals and the “identity capital” in which they are unavoidably born and socialized.


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